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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Editor-a-Saurus: A Guest Blog by Mindy Philips Lawrence

Mindy Philips Lawrence writes a guest column for my Sharing with Writers newsletter. They are always jam-packed with resources for writer but this one was too good not to have an even broader audience -- especailly of those interested in perfecting their writing. She didn't object when I asked her if I could use it here. Those interested in getting the newsletter on a near-weekly basis (It's full of promotion tips, help on the craft of writing and even up-to-date news on the publishing indstury) may send me an e-mail ( and put "SUBSCRIBE" in the subject line. So, ta-da! Here is Edit-a-Saurus:


By Mindy Philips Lawrence

What is it with me? I look at work that a perfectly nice person has written and say, “Third line down in the second paragraph, you have a typo” or, “Do you realize you have fourteen –ly words on the first page of your story?” Although, this often doesn’t endear me to the writer, it’s always meant to help that writer create better, cleaner work.

Now, what can YOU do to keep pesky editors like me happy? Self edit, of course. You will need another person with tons of editing skills (not dear old granny or your best friend, unless either is an editor) to look at what you have written, but you can help that process go a lot easier if you follow some simple rules.

-- Let what you have written “marinate” over night if at all possible.

-- Read your copy through at least three times:
(1) The first time for grammar baddies
(2) The second time for adverb and adjectives gone amuck
(3) The third time for sentence placement and content

-- Hand it off to the best and most honest editor you know. Let them go through it from stem to stern.

-- Grab a good editing guide (like The Frugal Editor) and run through the whole thing again.

-- Keep to the word count in your submission guidelines.

-- Make sure your content matches that of the market you are seeking.

Resources are abundant. One of the best is Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s book, The Frugal Editor. For heaven’s sakes don’t pass that one up! Get it, live it, use it!

Here are some links that can help you turn your sloppy copy into a neat sheet in no time. Go forth and write CLEAN!

~ Mindy, The Editur (Note From Carolyn: Catch that? Cute, huh?)


The Frugal Editor, Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Kindle Edition of The Frugal Editor:

The Slade Short Course: 15 Lessons in Grammar and Composition

Line by Line: How to Edit Your Own Writing


Editors Forum

Enhance My Writing

Copy Editing Resources on the Internet

Proofreading Ideas

Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults and speaks on issues of publishing. Find her The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success at Learn more about her other authors' aids at She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at


Nick - Supaproofread said...

Really good write up. Do get into a similar frame of mind when reading anything to be honest, always spotting the mistakes and advising the author of where they can do better. It isn't critisim, but guidence I feel.

Oh, and third line, think writer needs an 's' on the end - sorry.

Anonymous said...

...please where can I buy a unicorn?

Great Editing Is Great Marketing

Your First Marketing Offense: Write and Edit Great Query Letters